by Mike Militello

At the ripe old age of 46, I decided to take the MSF course and learn how to ride.  After all, this appeared to be the last technical frontier for me to conquer after becoming a pilot a decade earlier.


A month later, I was tooling along the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn , New York , on my newly acquired vintage 78′ Honda CB750A.  Now the Belt Parkway can be a challenge for motorists – with it’s construction zones, 25 foot entrance ramps and potholes that could rival Berlin ‘s streets in 1945!  Never mind being a motorcyclist and a new one at that!

So, I am approaching the construction zone where the city built a temporary bridge, in order to demolish and then re-construct the existing one.  As you approach this zone, the road swerves all the way to the left, then back to the right.  It requires all of your attention to avoid the potholes and still maintain your lane in heavy moving traffic.

As I am swerving, I hear a dog barking somewhere close to the right side of my helmet.  As I turn my head towards the right, I am face to face with a snarling German Shepard.  The dog had its head and chest out the rear window of this sedan, balancing itself on it’s navel with it’s front paws clawing the air, as it tried to get at me.

The woman who was driving the car thought the whole thing was hysterical!  At a speed of 45mph, I didn’t find it amusing at all.  So, I throttled back and slid in behind the car.  Now the dog got back in the car and was head butting the rear window.  Suddenly, the woman is getting concerned, as she tries to swat the dog, while veering back and forth within her lane.

Afraid that she will clip the retaining wall off her right side, or careen into a car on her left, I start dropping way back, but not before pretending to be barking back at the animal and sending it into a frenzy!  I thought to myself, “If this is happening only into the first month of riding, I can only imagine what I’m gonna be seeing in the years to come”

Mike Militello
Elmont , New York